Aban 2 1399 - October 23 2020
Op-Ed: Americans helped my family emigrate from Iran. That kindness is what makes this country great

My first taste of American greatness was peanut butter. It was in 1965 or so, in Urmia, my hometown in northwest Iran. I was around 3 years old. The peanut butter was a gift from Penny and Richard, two of a handful of Peace Corps volunteers who worked in Urmia in the 1960s. Since President Trump was elected, I have thought a lot about that gift of peanut butter and our president's slogan, "Make America Great Again." -Behrooz Alexander Moghaddam, Los Angeles Times 10/19/20

Persian music master Shajarian who backed Iran protests dies

Mohammad Reza Shajarian, whose distinctive voice quavered to traditional Persian music on state radio for years before supporting protesters following Iran's contested 2009 election, has died, state TV reported Thursday. He was 80. Shajarian enlivened Iran's traditional music with his singing style, which soared, swooped and trilled over long-known poetry set to song. But the later years of his life saw him forced to only perform abroad, after he backed those who challenged the disputed re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by telling state radio to stop using his songs. -Nasser Karimi, AP 10/9/20

Iranian-German movie 'Bandar Band' sends message of hope

Iranian director Manijeh Hekmat expected the production of her latest movie to go ahead as planned - but then she found herself having to improvise. The resulting film is more than just an homage to Iran's landscapes. -Deutsche Welle 9/21/20

Iran's rap battles: youth with a 'pure love' for rap

The young people gathered are in their twenties, dressed in oversized tee-shirts, hoodies, chains and durags. In short, they look like any young people immersed in rap and hip hop culture. But when they launch into their flow, the words are in Persian. Rap has been popular in Iran for the past twenty years but, recently there has been an increasing number of rap battles staged in quiet streets and parks, and videos are popping up online. -France24 9/17/20

Meet Khalil Oghab: "The father of Iranian circus"

Older people know "Khalil Oghab" who found fame from Zurkhaneh, then became renowned across Iran and worldwide. He says: "I'm the father of the Iranian circus," and surely he is. Born Khalil Tariqat Peyma in 1924, the athlete acted as a stuntman in different world countries and set a record which is yet to be broken, ISNA reported on Monday. -Tehran Times 9/17/20

"Most non-Iranians only know about kebabs": One Toronto woman's quest to elevate her culture's cuisine and raise money for charity

I grew up surrounded by good cooks, but I only started cooking seriously in my mid-twenties. I'm Iranian and my family would always make elaborate dinners to bring people together. I was born in Tehran, but we moved to Toronto when I was 12. -Toronto Life 9/16/20

Photos: Armenians Holy Cross ceremony in Tehran

Tehran's Holy Cross Cathedral hosted the Holy Cross ceremony on Monday. This cathedral was built in 1970 by one of the Armenians of Tehran near Valiasr square in Karimkhan street in downtown Tehran, and it is now the main center of the gathering of Armenians in Tehran. -IRNA 9/15/20

Iran's secular shift: new survey reveals huge changes in religious beliefs

Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution was a defining event that changed how we think about the relationship between religion and modernity. Ayatollah Khomeini's mass mobilisation of Islam showed that modernisation by no means implies a linear process of religious decline. Reliable large-scale data on Iranians' post-revolutionary religious beliefs, however, has always been lacking. -Pooyan Tamimi Arab & Ammar Maleki, The Conversation 9/11/20

Swiss FM visits historical palace in Tehran, urges deepening cultural ties

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis paid a visit to the Niavaran Cultural-Historical Complex in Tehran on Monday, emphasizing the need to deepen and strengthen cultural relations between the two countries. The complex, covering an area of about eleven hectares, is composed of several landmark buildings, museums, and monuments constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries during the Pahlavi and late Qajar eras. 9/9/20

'We are part of the tapestry': Black Iranians launch collective

Education campaign touches on topics such as Iran's history of slavery, which was only abolished in 1929: The animated series Siyaa Zibaast (Black is Beautiful) is one of many works that will be featured by the Collective for Black Iranians, a newly launched group which focuses on amplifying representation of Black and Afro Iranians - something that is long overdue, explains the founder, Priscillia Kounkou-Hoveyda. -Behdad Mahichi 20 hours ago, Al-Jazeera 9/3/20

Photos: Fatir, A Popular Bread in Arak City

Fatir is a traditional type of bread, baked in different cities of Iran, especially Arak City. It has been years that this type of bread is made in the City, and many people make a living by baking Fatir. The origin of this bread goes back to the East Azarbaijan province of Iran. -Parisa Behzadi, ISNA 8/28/20

How can food help us face the grinding uncertainty of pandemic life?

Iranian food is labor-intensive, a reminder that whoever made the meal really cares about you. Stews are slow cooked for half a day. Good rice takes an hour. And each dolmeh is individually hand wrapped, delicate and precise as a work of art. When the outbreak first started, I decided to devote myself to making these demanding dishes, which have been a constant of family meals and social gatherings throughout my life. -Adrienne M. Varkiani, The Counter 8/27/20

The Iranian Jews Who Joined the Islamic Revolution

Thousands flocked from Tehran's synagogues to protests, led by their rabbis. Jewish delegates met with Khomeini to express support for his struggle. A groundbreaking study sheds light on the life of Iranian Jews, their complex view of Zionism and their surprising stance on the Islamic Revolution -Ofer Aderet, Haaretz 8/21/20

World needs more real-life heroes

Medical staff, environmental defenders, doctors without borders, and those delivering humanitarian aid to refugees are the real-life heroes that the world needs more of them. This year is the eleventh year to celebrate World Humanitarian Day, paying special tribute to real-life heroes. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 8/19/20

Challenges and opportunities confronting female-headed households in Iran: a qualitative study

Female-headed households are one of the most vulnerable groups of society that confront many problems and challenges. Therefore, the present study aimed to explore the challenges and opportunities confronting female-headed households in Iran. -Javad Yoosefi Lebni, et al, BMC Women's Health 8/18/20

Loris Tjeknavorian wins Books for Peace Awards 2020

Iranian Armenian composer Loris Tjeknavorian, 82, has been selected as the winner of the Books for Peace Awards 2020. He had first received the nomination in May from Iran's Art for Peace Festival, which had nominated him for the 2019 edition of the awards. The winners will be honored during a special ceremony on September 12 in Rome, Italy. -Public Radio of Armenia 8/18/20

Photos: Golestan hosting online marriage festival of Iranian tribes

The second national marriage festival of Iranian tribes opened online in northern Golestan province on Monday. The two-day festival covers traditional rituals of tribal marriage, traditional tribal music, stand-up comedy, and various cultural programs, IRNA reported. 8/4/20

Photos: Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan

In the hot days of summer and difficulties caused by the coronavirus, people of Isfahan visit Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the evening in order to have fun and get some rest. Although the dangers of the new coronavirus still threaten people, the peaceful atmosphere of Naqsh-e Jahan Square attracts them to visit there. -Morteza Zangane, ISNA 7/30/20

Between the Lines: Seeking solace in the work of the thirteenth-century Persian poet Hafez

"I wouldn't wish being Iranian on my worst enemy," my friend Marjan posted on Instagram in mid-January. Like many Iranians, Marjan is stuck in visa limbo. An economics professor in New York, she traveled to Iran in August of last year, and by the time her return visa was finally issued, coronavirus restrictions meant she was stuck in Iran. But her post was about more than just travel frustrations. -Nilo Tabrizy, Guernica 7/20/20

50 Inspiring Iranian Women, a book beautifully illustrated by Roshi Rouzbehani

Within just 12 hours of launching her Kickstarter campaign to bring her book to life celebrating 50 remarkable Iranian women, London-based illustrator Roshi Rouzbehani more than reached her target. The illustrated biography pays tribute to Iranian women who have played significant roles in art, science, sport, education and philanthropy. -Katy Cowan, Creative Boom 7/15/20

Iranian Woman Turns Farmland into Doll Exhibition

An Iranian woman has turned her farmland into an exhibition of dolls she makes for fun at the sixth decade of her life. Khadijeh Abbasi, who lives alone in a village in Ardakan in Iran's central Yazd province, has been making creative dolls, a work that is astonishing and unbelievable. -IFP 7/10/20

Why Iranians, rattled by suicides, point a finger at leaders

First the wounded veteran, then the unpaid security guard, then the hungry child. The powerful images of hopelessness came one after another, creating mounting waves of shock for Iranians who may have thought themselves inured to tales of desperation, destitution, and political angst. Yet decades after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution seized power in the name of "social justice" for the poor and "oppressed," and amid deepening economic collapse, Iran is battling a surge of suicides seen as a barometer of the ever-widening gap between the political leadership and society.-Scott Peterson, CSM 7/9/20

Photos: Tehran Metro after wearing masks becomes compulsory

The large outbreak of the new coronavirus in Khuzestan, Hormozgan, Bushehr, Kermanshah, Kudistan, Ilam, West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan and Khorasan, have put these provinces of Iran in the red alert category due to their large number of new cases. Because of a considerable increase in the number of new cases throughout Iran, wearing face masks have become compulsory in public spaces. -Majid Khahi, ISNA 7/8/20

British archaeologist David Stronach, famed for intensive Iranian studies, dies at 89

The Iran Heritage Foundation regrets to announce the passing of Professor David Stronach, OBE, on 27th June at the age of 89. He was the founding Director of the British Institute of Persian Studies 1961-79 and from 1981 he was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in the University of California at Berkeley. 6/30/20

Composer Loris Tjeknavorian creates "memorable" piece in home quarantine

Loris Tjeknavorian, the 82-year-old Iranian composer, has said that he has created one of the most memorable pieces of his life during the home quarantine. Speaking to Mizan on Tuesday, he said, "I have worked on a special piece over the past four months for which I have not selected a name as yet, but it is the outcome of contemplation and mediation during the home quarantine. I believe it will be one of the most memorable works of my professional life." 6/25/20

Iranian hero Alborz Zare'ei dies fighting Zagros forest wildfire

Alborz Zare'ei, a 38-year-old environmental enthusiast and climber, who was helping extinguish a wildfire in the southwestern part of the country, lost his life after 18 days of suffering from burn wound infection. Alborz volunteered to defend nature and extinguish the fire in Gachsaran highlands, but due to inhalation of fire fumes and severe wounds lost his life on Friday evening, June 20. 6/22/20

The Art of Persia: A rare glimpse into an ancient world of art and culture

Samira Ahmed and her team, with the help of some amazing drone photography, make a pretty good stab at revealing Iran's fascinating, rich and complex past, a story of successive invasions and empire-building, about which, I imagine, most of us are fairly ignorant. By calling the three-parter The Art of Persia, as opposed to Iran, there's a clear delineation between the country's past and present, its pre-Islamic and Islamic cultures, and the time before and after it became an Islamic Republic in 1979. -Evening Standard 6/16/20

Handicrafts: The art of 'heart and hand'

Along with other historical and natural attractions of Zanjan province in Iran, handicrafts in the province are manifestation of skills, tastes and thoughts of artists and artisans who have showcased spirit and cultural identity of this land and territory in their works with their creations over the years. -Mehdi Almasi 6/12/20

PHOTOS: Tehran Circus in the time of Coronavirus

Although the circus had just started, the seats were full of spectators every night. Tehran Circus has been closed for four months now, and its staff members are working alone to return to prosperous days for vacant seats and program salaries. The coronavirus was a full-fledged enemy that spread its many-month-long efforts to eradicate them. -Hassan Shirvani 6/10/20

Shardad Rohani performing from Tehran's Roudaki Hall

In celebration of Maestro Shardad Rohani's upcoming birthday on May 27, Farhang Foundation is proud to present an exclusive world premiere performance by the Maestro performing his much celebrated composition of Dance of Spring, exclusively for us from Tehran's Roudaki Hall (aka Vahdat Hall), home of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra. 5/26/20

PHOTOS: Harvesting damask rose in N. Khorasan province

Farmers in Iran's northeastern North Khorasan province have started harvesting damask rose, a widely cultivated flower throughout the country. The rose water produced from damask roses is applied in pharmaceutical and perfumery industries. -Maryam Davarnia, Mehr 5/26/20

COVID-19: Iran Reopens Religious Shrines After Two Months

Iran has reopened its religious shrines, some two months after closing them due to the Middle East's deadliest coronavirus outbreak. The shrines were reopened on May 25 amid a gradual easing of restrictions put in place to contain the pandemic, which has killed 7,451 people and infected over 137,000, according to official figures. Real numbers are believed to be significantly higher. 5/25/20

Coronavirus: Under lockdown, Iranians turn to Instagram for taboo-breaking content

As Iranians have spent much of the past three months under lockdown in the Middle Eastern country worst hit by the coronavirus, many have, like elsewhere in the world, turned to the internet to find distractions from the pandemic. Livestreams on Instagram - one of the few available social networks in the country - have become more and more popular, as Iranian celebrities have used them to attract more followers in various ways. -Saeid Jafari, Middle East Eye 5/25/20

From Iran to the US: Songs in times of war and coronavirus

I stand behind the French glass doors to the Juliet balcony of our New York apartment. Outside, the low sun signals its impending shift to another part of the globe and three storeys below a couple walks on the street holding disposable coffee cups, as though it is a normal day. In many ways it is a day like any other... -Sara Goudarzi, Al Jazeera 5/22/20

Iran's population growth drops to less than 1% for first time

The country's population growth rate has decreased to less than one percent for the first time over the past four decades, Seyed Hamed Barakati, deputy health minister for family and school population has said. The marriage rate in the country has dropped by 40 percent since 10 years ago, which is an alarm that threatens the country's future in all economic, social and even security dimensions, he lamented. 5/21/20

Bani Adam (Children of Adam): World musicians release solidarity music video during pandemic

A music video inspired by Persian poet Sadi's famous poem "The Sons of Adam Are Limbs of Each Other" has been released with the voice of Iranian vocalist Alireza Qorbani in collaboration with several Italian singers and overseas musicians during the pandemic. The music video has been released to promote the message of peace and friendship, the Italian theater and cinema actress Pamela Villoresi has said in an introduction to the music video. 5/20/20

107 Iranian medical staff have died in coronavirus battle

"We are gathering precise data from all over the country in order to know how many people from among medical staff have been infected with the coronavirus or lost their lives in fighting the virus. So far, 792 individuals have been infected and 107 dear colleagues have lost their lives. Let's pray for the patients," Hossein Kermanpour wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday. 5/20/20

Tarkhineh Soup; A Nutrient Iranian Dish with Yogurt

Tarkhineh is a dried food ingredient, based on a fermented mixture of grain and yoghurt or fermented milk, found in the cuisines of the Middle East. Dry tarkhineh has a texture of coarse, uneven crumbs, and it is usually made into a thick soup with water or milk. Tarkhineh can be eaten in all seasons, but in winter, it is said to have a positive effect on the treatment of colds. -Fatemeh Askarieh, IFP 5/19/20

VIDEO: Tehran Choir performs John Rutter's "For the Beauty of Earth"

The Tehran Choir by conductor Mehdi Qasemi has released a video in which its members perform British composer John Rutter's "For the Beauty of the Earth" during the home quarantine in the battle against the spread of COVID-19. Several musicians from the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, Iran's National Orchestra as well as musicians from several other countries have collaborated in this project 5/14/20

Top 10 books about Iran

Iran is an ancient country with a complex people, among them some of the greatest poets who ever lived. Sadly, the Iranian novel has yet to reach the popularity of the country's poetry. This is perhaps because there is something enigmatic about how Persian prose is written, often using surrealism and magical realism to mimic the playfulness in its poetry. No matter what Iranians do, even if they write historical textbooks, it seems they can never shed the poetic touch. -Nazanine Hozar, Guardian 5/14/20

Social Distancing in Iran

Social interactions in Iran are dictated by a form of etiquette known as taarof: an elaborate, indirect manner of speech and behaviour. Layers of symbolism, verbosity and insincerity are intended to smooth over conflict, ease interactions, and keep certain truths buried. It's a form of social distancing, if you will, putting space between what is meant and what is said. As the social scientist Kian Tajbakhsh has put it, 'in the West, 80 per cent of language is denotative. In Iran 80 per cent is connotative.' -Arianne Shahvisi, LRB 5/14/20

Our Iranian Lockdown: filmmaker Q&A

Filmmakers Sara Khaki and Mohammad Reza Eyni talk about their intimate new documentary. In this new Guardian Documentary, Our Iranian Lockdown, a filmmaking duo turn the camera on themselves and capture their lives in lockdown. Their film is an intimate portrait of the highs and the lows of love and loss in these times of great uncertainty. -Guardian 5/12/20

Let's share our love of Iran: Painter Iran Darrudi

Iranian surrealist painter Iran Darrudi has asked her countrymen to share their love of their homeland. Speaking to the Iran-France Friendship Association in an online interview on last Wednesday, the 83-year-old Darrudi said, "Unfortunately, Iran and its history has been consigned to oblivion. However, we cannot deny our identity; we are Iranian and the history shows that this land has been the founder of the world's culture." 5/11/20

VIDEOS: Iran's National Instruments Orchestra Pays Tributes to COVID-19 Healthcare Staff

With the aim of expressing appreciation for the medical staff from around globe, the Iran's National Instruments Orchestra performed "The Avicenna Suite" by maestro Farhad Fakhreddini. The work has been recorded and edited by cell phone at home. 5/1/20

PHOTOS: On the verge of oblivion? Meet stone lions deserted in southwest Iran

Some cultural heritage enthusiasts say that hundreds of stone lions, which were placed on top of the tombstones of brave and courageous people of Bakhtiari tribe in the past, are now on the verge of oblivion and even fading away. Bakhtiari nomads regard such stone statues, locally called 'Bard Shirs' as a symbol of bravery, valor, and characteristics like adroitness at hunting and shooting in war as well as horseback riding on top of the gravestone of that group of people. -Alireza Mohammadi 4/29/20

Iran's flag on Swiss iconic mountain shows sympathy in battling coronavirus

In a symbolic gesture, Switzerland sympathized with the Iranian people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic by projecting the Iranian flag on the mountain of the Matterhorn, one of the country's most famous peaks. The image went viral among Iranian users in social media who highly praised the move. 4/29/20

Sassanid Inscription Unearthed In Ancient Iran Necropolis Being Deciphered

Experts are working to decipher a newly discovered inscription unearthed in an ancient necropolis near Persepolis, an official of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran, said on Monday. The inscription which dates from the Sassanian period (224-651 AD) was found in Naqsh-e Rostam and is written in Pahlavi language (also known as Middle Persian) which was the official language of the Sassanian Empire. 4/28/20

the starkness of iran's desert developments is captured by manuel alvarez diestro

for his latest photography series, manuel alvarez diestro transports us to the isolated landscape of iran's deserts. amid the vast expanse of rolling land and mountain peaks, the images hone in on new housing developments. from afar the tower blocks appear as models in miniature, while closer up, the true scale of the buildings can be appreciated. -Design Boom 4/27/20 4/27/20

Iran marks National Day of Saadi Shirazi, the Master of Speech

Today is the National Commemoration Day of the renowned Persian poet Saadi Shirazi, born in Shiraz around 1200 and died around 1292. Abu-Muhammad Muslih al-Din bin Abdallah Shirazi, known by his pen-name Saadi, was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. Saadi is known as a mystic and metaphysician in the history of Persian literature. He is recognized for the quality of his writings and for the depth of his social and moral thoughts.-Morteza Rahmani, Tehran Times 4/21/20

With Persian tahdig - the fluffy-rice, crispy-bottom classic - practice makes perfect

Numerous legends abound on how tahdig was born, and here's one: To make sure diners could scoop up the last grains out of the pot so that nothing, not a single grain, went to waste, Iranians started to line the bottom of the pot with bread to prevent rice from burning and possibly being ruined. The covering was to protect precious rice, and that covering is how tahdig, which in Farsi means "bottom of the pot," was born. - Shadi HasanzadeNemati, Seattle Times 4/21/20

Lessons on humanity from Persian literature

All of Iran's celebrations this year to mark Sadi Day on April 20 will be organized online due to the COVID-19 disaster. Persian poet Sadi was introduced to the generation of Iranians that are now in their fifties with the following verses at the primary school age: The sons of Adam are limbs of each other / Having been created of one essence / When the calamity of time afflicts one limb / The other limbs cannot remain at rest.... -Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi Sabet 4/20/20

VIDEO: Vice Guide to Iran

Over the past weeks and months, Iran has descended into chaos. From the downing of a passenger jet to the assassination of a top general, and now one of the world's largest coronavirus outbreaks, life in the Islamic Republic is facing its toughest challenges since it was founded in 1979. Just days before all hell broke loose, VICE founder Suroosh Alvi traveled to the country, meeting people from all walks of life: from hipsters to hostage-takers, and from top lawmakers to one of Iran's heaviest metal bands. -Vice 4/17/20

AP PHOTOS: In Iran, isolated musicians perform from rooftops

With performance halls closed and many isolated in their homes as a result of the Mideast's worst virus outbreak, Hosseini and other Iranian musicians now find performance spaces where they can. That includes rooftops dotted with water tanks and littered with debris, empty front porches and opened apartment windows. Their music floats down on others stuck in their homes, fearful of the COVID-19 illness the virus brings. -Ebrahim Noroozi, AP 4/16/20

Iranian Medical Staff Wearing Masks Speak via Poems on their Suits

A group of medical workers in Iran have been seen in protective suits bearing poems and sentences that bring to mind their relentless efforts in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Iranian doctors and nurses have been looking after coronavirus patients for almost two months now. They have outfits which are hard to wear; still, some wear suits with poems and catchphrases written on them. -IFP 4/13/20

PHOTOS: Virus stills Iran's frenetic capital, Tehran

The typically frenetic streets of Iran's capital, Tehran, have fallen silent and empty over recent days due to the new coronavirus outbreak that's gripped the Islamic Republic. The now-deserted cafes where waitstaff lounge around with no customers to serve, or the closed bookstores and stadiums, are such a sharp contrast to the way things were. -Ebrahim Noroozi, AP 4/9/20

World Health Day: Dedicated medics on front line fighting the invisible enemy

This time, medical professionals have gone far to help patients afflicted by the coronavirus, so the least we can do is supporting them and paying tribute to those putting themselves at risk battling against a dangerous enemy which is not even visible. Since March 25, it is reported that 43 medical staff in Iran have lost their lives due to the coronavirus infection. 4/8/20

PHOTOS: Historic Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz, Iran turned into workshop for coronavirus masks

The historic mausoleum of Shah Cheragh in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz has been temporarily turned into a workshop for local women to produce protective masks amid the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, as seen in footage shot on Monday. The Shah Cheragh shrine, which translates to the "King of the Light", has switched its long lines of pilgrims for a masks production line in an effort to meet the medical supplies demands in Iran amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 4/7/20

Mosque converted into mask factory in virus-hit Iran

At a Tehran mosque converted into a factory, women volunteers who would normally attend to visitors to the old battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war have joined the fight against coronavirus. Lined up like factory workers, around 15 women have taken up positions in front of table-top sewing machines to produce face masks. -AFP 4/7/20

What an Iranian film about a leper colony can teach us about coronavirus

In the autumn of 1962, the celebrated Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad made what would be her first and last film. Regarded as a precursor to the Iranian new wave and now considered a classic, The House Is Black is a documentary about the members of a leper colony near the city of Tabriz in northwest Iran. Despite having been filmed nearly 60 years ago, and focusing on a small group of people suffering from a particular condition, it has found new relevance in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, having much to say not only about the current situation in Iran but also to those in self-isolation and/or suffering, regardless of location. -Joobin Bekhrad, Guardian 4/6/20

Powerful light installation by Nanda Sharif-pour at Soho Lofts on Las Vegas Boulevard

The bright lights of Las Vegas' Strip may have gone dark, but art remains a beacon of light in Sin City. As the city is placed under a 30-day lockdown for entertainment and all non-essential businesses due to the global pandemic, a public art installation, ONE by Iranian-American artist and refugee Nanda Sharif-pour, uses art to inspire kindness, reflection, equality and unity during these times of global political and social unrest. -ArtfixDaily 4/3/20

Sizdah Bedar 1399: Iranians advised to stay home on Nature's Day due to epidemic

The thirteenth day of the Iranian calendar month of Farvardin is traditionally marked in Iran as Nature's Day, or Sizdah Bedar as the day is known in Persian. The annual festival is an opportunity for people to picnic outdoors with family and friends and enjoy nature. But not this year! And the coronavirus pandemic is to blame. Iranian officials have instructed people to skip celebrating Nature's Day and to continue staying home due to serious health threats from the new coronavirus. 4/1/20

The Coronavirus Through The Eyes Of 5 Iranian Photographers

With more than 20,000 reported cases as of Saturday afternoon, Iran has become one of the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has affected Iranian leadership, and data show the spread is far worse than reported. As the crisis worsens, NPR talked with a group of independent documentary photographers about their experiences on the ground. -NPR 3/23/20

Persian New Year traditions transformed by coronavirus in Iran

The Persian New Year, or Nowruz, is a time of coming together in Iran. Alongside family, friends and strangers, Iranians take part in two weeks of rituals that include the spring equinox. Poetry is read and loved ones join one another in dance. Locals jump over bonfires to ward away sickness. Homes are cleaned, tables are symbolically rearranged. It's part of a string of customs to herald the spring and celebrate rebirth. This year, COVID-19 has transformed these traditions. -Tamara Qiblawi, CNN 3/20/20

'It was like a scary movie.' Coronavirus has forced Iran to take a hard pause

I HEAD OUT to take pictures of the coronavirus crisis in Tehran. In Iran we are used to crises and we adjust quickly to new realities. I put on latex gloves, place a mask over my mouth and nose, and pack a sterilizer in my camera bag. The new normal. Streets that would normally be bustling with people and cars are deserted. I try to breathe through my mask. It's suffocating. I feel as if I've stepped into some dystopian future. -Newsha Tavakolian, National Geographic 3/20/20

Coronavirus keeps families apart on eve of Iranian new year

Nowruz, or "new day" in Persian, is an ancient celebration and the most important date in the calendar, when families gather and exchange gifts. But the coronavirus has overshadowed preparations this year in a country severely hit by the outbreak. There have been 1,284 deaths and 18,407 confirmed cases in Iran so far, overloading hospitals and upending everyday life. -Parisa Hafezi, Reuters 3/19/20

In search of junub, the hippie spirit of Iran's south

Among Iranian youths, junub carries much more meaning than just its literal definition of south. It has long been synonymous with an adventurous trip, a breath of fresh air and a sense of freedom. When winter cold comes to most of Iran, in its southern provinces young Iranians scatter around the remote beaches and mountains of the Persian Gulf islands. Here, they enjoy the company of other open-minded Iranians and relative safety to pursue their personal freedoms, engage in creative activities, exchange ideas and form long-term connections that last far beyond the beaches of Hormoz or Hengam. -Mykolas Juodele, Guardian 3/16/20

Reckoning with an Uncertain Future in Iran, and Outside It

My mother loves anecdotes, witty sayings, and little old tales that teach a life lesson. A favorite comes from her father, whom she loved dearly. The saying shows the imprint of a life lived in the Iranian countryside, under the rule of mercurial authorities: When you go to fill your water jugs, dip both in the stream at the same time. Otherwise, by the time one is filled, they might not let you use the stream anymore. -Ali Araghi, New Yorker 3/16/20

Cartoonist Jamal Rahmati uses Shahnameh characters to make animations on defeating coronavirus

has used characters from Persian poet Ferdowsi's magnum opus, the Shahnameh, to make an animation series named "The Seven Adventures of Coronavirus". "Rustam and Zakariya against Corona", the first part of the seven-episode comedy series, was released on Saturday. 3/15/20

Iranians devastated by prospect of New Year under quarantine

The run-up to Persian new year should be one of the busiest periods for shopkeepers in the vaulted streets of Tehran's grand bazaar, the centre of commerce in the Iranian capital. But in the days before Nowruz, the biggest celebration in the Iranian calendar, there is scarcely a customer in sight. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 3/13/20

Jumping Over the Fire: Bay Area Iranians Carry On

The Iran I know and the Iran I see in the news have been stubborn puzzle pieces that simply refuse to fit together. The Iran I know is reaching under a bed for my grandfather's cane in Ahvaz at the age of four, one year before his death. The Iran I know is on the balcony of my mother's childhood home in Shiraz, sleeping under the stars with cousins in 2002. The Iran I know is jumping over beach bonfires late into the night for Nowruz, the Persian New Year. -Ida Mojadad, SF Weekly 3/5/20

Coronavirus: doctors and nurses in Iran filmed dancing in bid to boost morale - video

Footage has appeared on social media of Iranian health workers dancing and singing in an effort to keep morale up as the country faces the worst coronavirus outbreak outside China. -Guardian 3/5/20

12th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UCLA

Join Farhang Foundation for the 12th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UCLA's Royce Hall and Dickson Courts. The event includes musical performances, children's activities, dancers, a Haft Sīn display and our annual Persian Costume "Spring Walk" open to children and adults of all ages. 3/2/20

How a Persian Mystic Poet Changed My Life

Five years ago, in an act of creative desperation, I decided to immerse myself in the classical Persian poetry I grew up taking for granted. I aimed to learn it by heart and under the expert tutelage of my father, a physician by trade and a connoisseur of Sufi poetry by tradition. For my father, nothing is more sacred than poetry - specifically the mystical poetry of Rumi. -Melody Moezzi, New York Times 2/27/20

Iranian Dolls to Go to Geneva as Peace Ambassadors

Jai Jagat 2020, an Indian campaign organizing a global march for peace and justice, has decided to take two Iranian folklore dolls from Isfahan to the Swiss city of Geneva as peace ambassadors. The Indian campaign "Jai Jagat", which means "One Planet, All People", has organized a one-year global march for justice and peace. -IFP 2/24/20

Photos: Projection mapping in Tehran sends sympathy to Chinese battling Coronavirus

In a ceremony on Tuesday night, a projection mapping was carried out on the iconic Azadi Tower in Tehran to convey the message of sympathy with Chinese people fighting coronavirus. The ceremony was held in the presence of Chinese Ambassador to Iran Chang Hua, ISNA reported. 2/19/20

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